Authors Name: 
Kari Pahlman
Australian National University
Social Sciences
Highly commended

Critically examine the idea of evidence-based policymaking

Since the election of the Labour Government in the United Kingdom in the 1990s on the platform of “what matters is what works”, the notion that policy should be evidence-based has gained significant popularity. While in theory, no one would suggest that policy should be based on anything other than robust evidence, this paper critically examines this concept of evidence-based policymaking, exploring the various complexities within it. Specifically, it questions the political nature of policymaking, the idea of what actually counts as evidence, and highlights the way that evidence can be selectively framed to promote a particular agenda. This paper examines evidence-based policy within the realm of Indigenous policymaking in Australia. It concludes that the practice of evidence-based policymaking is not necessarily a guarantee of more robust, effective or successful policy, highlighting implications for future policymaking.